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Renegotiating Family Relationships: Divorce, Child Custody, and Mediation [Hardcover]

Robert E. Emery Phd

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Book Description

Aug. 5 1994 089862214X 978-0898622140 1
The way in which relationships are renegotiated in the aftermath of divorce is critical to the future well-being of family members. When estranged parents are able to redefine boundaries in their own relationship, it allows their children to maintain a healthy relationship with both, and paves the way for a more intact and functional family system. Toward this end, the author presents a state-of-the-art overview of divorce, child custody, and mediation within the context of the latest psychological research and contemporary divorce law. Providing specific techniques and detailed case histories, he outlines an approach for estranged couples to renegotiate their relationship, defining new boundaries of intimacy and power between the various members of the family. The book illustrates how mediation can keep a large percentage of families out of court, increase parents' satisfaction with the process, encourage the involvement of both parents with the children, and break out of the "win-lose" mentality of the law and negotiate "win-win" settlements instead.

Renegotiating Family Relationships opens with an examination of how gender bears on the attitudes both parents and children maintain toward divorce. It describes specific steps for separating marital and parental roles, as well as for dealing with cycles of love, anger, and sadness that characterize grief in divorce. The role of children in a divorced family system is explored, and strategies are provided for setting up visitation schedules, disciplinary tactics, joint physical custody, and other parenting arrangements. Ways to balance loyalties and alliances in the parent-child-parent triad are also discussed.

Divorce and custody law and the implications they have for mediation are examined, with sections discussing such issues as financial settlements, property division, alimony, child support, taxes, remarriage, and post-divorce economics for single mothers. Theories of custody dispute resolution and tactics for bargaining and settling disputes are also presented, as are methods for negotiating agreements, including ways to determine settlement policies, and conduct mediation sessions with parents.

Offering strategies for working with attorneys and judges, the book describes how to define problems; set up caucuses; focus on issues instead of emotions; and review areas of agreement and disagreement. Later chapters focus on custody mediation research and psychological research on children, parents, and divorce with an examination of precedent-setting mediation cases, issues of compliance, demographics of divorce, and how both children and parents adjust to the divorce process in light of changes in the family structure. Finally, the future of custody mediation is also discussed.

Comprehensive in scope, this volume will interest a wide range of mental health professionals--psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, and family counselors. It will inform legal professionals working with couples trying to renegotiate their relationship. It also serves as a text for graduate courses or advanced undergraduate courses related to either mental health or the law.

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"... clear and well-written...this book moves us forward in looking at divorced families. It should be on the shelf of everyone working with divorce, especially clinicians... This book provides a systems-oriented, less pathological approach to divorce and will be valuable resource for clinicians, teachers, and students." --Cathleen Gray, Families in Society

"Every family professional knows that separation and divorce can and do create emotional and economic havoc for too many adults and children. Professionals who read Bob Emory's book, Renegotiating Family Relationships, may not always be able to straighten out the mess, but it does provide the clearest blue print available yet for understanding the dynamics of divorce and separation and how a mediator can effectively intervene. The book brilliantly presents sound theory from the field, the author's own research, and a host of practical tools all blended together to describe how mediators actually resolve custody disputes. For professionals who currently work in the custody mediation thicket, this book is a must read. You will not be disappointed and you will learn something in the bargain." --Mark R. Lohman, Ph.D., Family Mediation of Northern Virginia

"This excellent book encompasses psychological, legal, and practical aspects of the divorce process and experience, presented in a very clear and readable style. The integration of divorce and mediation research, policy considerations, clinical insight, practical issues, and professional opinion is both unusual and valuable. Emery focuses in considerable detail on the psychology of the divorce experience for parents and children, discusses custody and parenting concepts and issues, describes the legal context of custody and financial settlements, and educates the reader about the custody mediation process and its effectiveness. Renegotiating Family Relationships is highly recommended for parents and mental health and legal professionals wanting an in-depth understanding of the meaning, processes and outcomes of divorce." --Joan B. Kelly, Ph.D., Executive Director, Northern California Mediation Center, Past-President, Academy of Family Mediators

"Robert Emery is both an outstanding researcher in divorce mediation and a thoughtful commentator on family dissolution. In Renegotiating Family Relationships: Divorce, Child Custody and Mediation he provides a clear and accessible yet sophisticated account of divorce as a psychological and legal process of restructuring family relationships. This is a multifaceted book that will be of great interest to both students and scholars, and invaluable to legal and mental health practitioners who deal with families going through divorce." --Elizabeth Scott, J.D., Professor of Law Professor, University of Virginia School of Law

"Robert E. Emery's Renegotiating Family Relationships: Divorce, Child Custody, and Mediation is a must reading for mental health professionals who work clinically with, conduct research with, or teach about families and children! Similar to his earlier writings, Robert E. Emery presents a complex topic in a clear, logical, and practical style. A picture of the divorce process is skillfully, and at times, painfully, painted by the author. However, what is most impressive is that he moves us to 'the next level' in this book by delineating how relationships have to be renegotiated and new boundaries established following marital dissolution. Emery's conceptualization of this process is insightful and simply brilliant!
Furthermore, Renegotiating Family Relationships offers much more. Emery cogently presents the complex and poorly defined legal standards in our country regarding divorce and child custody. The theory and actual practice of custody mediation is presented in such clinical detail that mental health professionals can utilize this book to acquire an understanding of the processes and issues in conducting mediation. Finally, up-to-date research on custody mediation and divorce effects on children is presented.
In summary, Robert E. Emery skillfully interweaves a new conceptual framework for understanding the divorce process, a detailed presentation of the steps and issues in conducting custody mediation, and the research on divorce effects on children and on the effectiveness of mediation. This book is a must reading for the clinician, the researcher, and the teacher who is concerned with the welfare of families and children." --Rex Forehand, Ph.D., University of Georgia

"....An insightful, clear, and concise treatise on alternative dispute resolution strategies that will be appreciated by a wide range of readers. This book is recommended reading for couples obliged to navigate their mutual parenting responsibilities over the rocky shoals of divorce. This book ought to be required reading for professionals--whether mediators, therapists, or judges--who work with divorcing couples embroiled in custody disputes. Furthermore, researchers studying marital dissolution and its effects on parents' and children's postdivorce adjustment will find the material comprehensive....Finally, friends or family members of divorcing couples may also benefit from reading this book...." --Kelly A. Brennan in Contemporary Psychology

About the Author

Robert E. Emery, Ph.D., is a Professor of Psychology at the University of Virginia where he teaches, conducts research, and is a practicing clinical psychologist and mediator. Recognized as an international authority on family conflict, divorce mediation, and children's development, Dr. Emery is the author of over 60 scientific articles and book chapters, and speaks widely on these topics to researchers, practitioners, and social policy makers. He is author of Marriage, Divorce, and Children's Adjustment and co-author, with Thomas Oltmanns, of Abnormal Psychology.

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